………..the world truly turned upside down.
The combined Royal Navy Grand Fleet moved out of the Firth of Forth in the mists of early morning, joined up with five American battleships and three French cruisers; and set sail for a moment of destiny. Forty Battleships and Battlecruisers moved out, to be joined by over one hundred and fifty cruisers and destroyers. They met, by arrangement, the German High Seas Fleet, and with only signals from strings of bunting flags, along with signal lamps, the massive convoy of naval metal turned and, led by a single British warship, the German fleet sailed into the Firth of Forth to an ignominious surrender.
Admiral Beatty’s Fleet orders were simple yet succint;- “Turrets and guns are to be kept in the securing positions, but free. Guns are to be empty with cages up and loaded ready for ramming home. Directors and armoured towers are to be trained on. Correct range and deflection are to be kept set continuously on the sights.”
Beatty’s final signal stated “The German flag will be hauled down at sunset today and will not be hoisted again without permission.”
The seeds of the Second World War were, unfortunately, sown at the Versailles Peace Conference, where a humiliated Germany was given no chance to repair herself, to feed her starving millions; and a single patriotic Austrian corporal, who was also an unsuspected megalomaniac, commenced his deadly ruminations.